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Discussion Starter #1
new member and ducati owner. only had my 09 1198 for about a month now and basically since the week i got it, its played up like a $2 tokyo bride. so today i had the time and pulled the plugs out and found this:



Had 15,000kms when i bought it from a dealer and started to smell really rich,hard starting and only getting about 150kms out of a full tank of 98 octane fuel after about 300kms. Apparently the dealer checked the valves before i picked it up so im unsure about where the oil is coming from although the top of the cylinder has oil residue.

Have read afew posts saying they dont like the 98 octane and to switch back to 95? only has a termi system,air filters and ecu.

Question being do i keep using ngk plugs or switch to the denso iridium? which octane fuel to use? also living in the tropics of australia so changing to the denso with a different heat range is dubious
 

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Gee, that plug looks good to me. Are you saying the bike isn't running smooth. Not sure about the description relating to a Tokyo gal.
 

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Looks like it is running a bit lean if anything. Stoich burn is usually grey or brown. Dry and black is rich. Doesn't look like it's burning much oil in the cylinder, to be honest (they would be greasy black if there was significant oil burning).

Can't comment on the Testa but Desmoquattros can get it from the plug bore in the head, which can weep oil and drip into the threads from above. It's due to porous castings. Can be fixed with a sleeve insert but it's a lot of trouble for a relatively minor issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
by running rough i meant when doing hot starts it feels like its only starting 1 cylinder and requires about 1/4 throttle for a few seconds until the 2nd fires, have had afew people comment that have been behind me that it stinks of fuel when just cruising on the highway at about 4000rpm. also requires to pump the throttle while its cranking to start.
 

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How many miles are on it? Did you buy it used with low miles? That oil shouldn't be there. And you are running lean.
 

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If the oily looking residue is actually hard and carbonaceous then the previous owner played mr. putt-putt on it. Put some Techron in the tank for a while to clean things up. +1 on the lean condition - get it sorted else a new pistons and exhaust valves (4) will be in order.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
has 16,000 kms on it, not sure what that is in miles. only issue with getting the lean out sorted is that the dealer is 10 hours drive away. looking at a powercommander with the autotune as it would cost me more to take it down to the dealer.

Are they a complicated motor to tune? have done some efi tuning with v8's in the past
 

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If you had a VDST, CO meter, training/instruction and patience - yes.
 

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That sparkplug does not look lean. All I see is a greasy plug with some camera flash reflected off of it.

Have you seen a lean sparkplug? They look like they look dusty and grey.

OP, does your bike run really hot? Hot=lean.

Also, what modifications does it have? Stock ECU and pipes, or aftermarket?

This is what a lean plug looks like:





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Screw the lean condition.... oil is not supposed to be anywhere near the plugs. Looks like a bad cam cover gasket that is leaking oil down the plug well and past the threads.
Fix that first.
 

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Start with a fresh set of plugs. The plug pictured looks like it has not gotten hot enough to burn off the normal deposits that occur from too many cold starts. If it is partially fouled it would explain the miss/one cyl. running condition you describe. By all means check for oil leakage in the plug well and also check the plug wire if the well has oil in it. NGKs are good plugs and don't usually foul easily but repeated cold starts and not getting hot enough will glaze the insulator and be prone to missing even after repeated cleanings.
 

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How is oil that may be leaking from the valve cover gasket going to get anywhere near the business end of the spark plug to cause it to foul or even get on the threads? There is a big old thick metal gasket sealing it off plus its under pressure (a bunch) when the engine is running that would blow the oil the other way? Not saying the gasket isn't leaking but any oil that gets in there has to have gotten there when the plug is removed. In my opinion disregard the color/carbon/oil on the skirt of the plug, that surface is flush with the cylinder head and will naturally get gunked up. Pay attention to the color of the insulator and appearance of the electrode, a ghost white insulator either means lean or wrong heat range plug. If the bike is running super lean that will show-up as a nasty miss and loss of power at peak rpm under WOT.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Matt P- mods are termi system with dp ecu and air filter. only place where i can see the oil getting down in there is from the front cylinder has oil/dust residue on the top cover, but i mean that thats a fair amount amount to oil required to work its way down onto the plug threads and cannot see any kind of run marks where it has gone down
 

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This is a weird thread - one camp says you are running rich / another says you have an oil leak..... So you decide to go with the oil leak and keep on barking up that tree????

Rule out a rich condition first before exploring the leaking oil scenario. When last did you even top up the oil, because with that much oil being burned you would have noticed it by now in your sight glass.

What is your your CO readings? That is the first give away that you are way too rich, until proven otherwise.

SF
 

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Discussion Starter #17
well pretty much ruled out the oil coming in from the outside-



there is the dust/oil residue on the cover and a little pooling at the bottom corner but looks like a minor gasket, guess i should fix that aswell while ive got it all naked.

just waiting to get paid so i can order the power commander and wideband 02 with the autotune
 

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It only has 10K miles for Pete's Sake, it's barely brokin' in.....throw new plugs in it and run the fookin' thing.:D If it bothers you that much take it back and have the dealer tune it, set the idle, Co, etc., you should have a limited warranty from the dealer, let him deal with it. Chances are it might have been owned by an old lady or one who liked to start the bike to merely hear it idle. Nothing's wrong with it.

Desmo Times Tip
...If you spend much time surfing the internet on Ducati bulletin boards you will develop a sense of paranoia that your Ducati is conspiring to break down on you at the most inopportune time. While each bike model has it's own particular "issues", Ducatis are relatively reliable. Preventative maintenance and knowledge about your Ducati are your best weapons against the paranoia wrought by Ducati owners with both limited experience and unlimited urge to send cautionary posts.....
We're all guilty of both:D.....
 

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That plug looks fairly normal for being ridden on the street. The shell is black because it hasn't been hammered enough to burn the carbon off. As far as the oil goes, I'd think that some got down the recess when the valve cover was removed for the valve check and lubed the threads up.

If you're getting a lot of gas fumes from the exhaust after it's fully warmed up, you may still be in cold start enrichment mode. This is controlled by the coolant temp sensor, and yours might be faulty.
 

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Just go run the hell out of it for 100 miles. Then see if you still have issues. My old carby Ducati doesnt always run perfectly after a hot start either. My newer fuel injected monster needed some throttle when hot as well..
These are cammy cantankerous engines that are built for racing for God's sake.
Go beat on it for a while and report back...


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